Employers have also found ways to incorporate health and wellness into office plans, offering ping-pong tables, nap rooms, meditation rooms, and for some larger companies, even on-site medical clinics. One of the amenities that has most rapidly evolved as a response to the health risks associated with sitting all day is the actual office chair, and office furniture as a whole. The concept of working towards fitness in the office space is becoming more popular than ever. Keep reading to find out more about how innovations in office seating and workstations can help you be healthier at work and avoid sitting down all day.
If you haven’t heard of walkstations before, you may be surprised by what you’re about to find out. This original take on the workstation actually combines two existing pieces of technology – the desk and the treadmill – into one item of office furniture that promises to make your work day more productive than ever. The walkstation is a stand-up desk attached to a treadmill that employees walk on while they complete their work using the desk.
Walkstations address the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle by incorporating mild, steady-state exercise into the work day. While you won’t see Bill from accounting break too much of a sweat, the walkstation is still a great way to burn some calories and stay moving while on the job.
Adjustable desks are another very recent trend in office amenities that give employees flexibility when it comes to their physical positioning while at work. An adjustable desk usually plugs into a wall and is fitted with a motor that can raise or lower the desktop at the touch of a button. As a result, the employee can seamlessly transition from a seated working position to a standing one in a matter of seconds, all without relocating. An adjustable office chair enables employees to make slight adjustments throughout the day, as needed.
Doctors today are saying that sitting is the new smoking when it comes to negative health benefits associated with a commonplace activity. The option to work standing up gives workers a great opportunity to mitigate some of the negative health effects associated with sedentary lifestyle by standing up while at work.
Balance stools are one of the most effective method of staying active at work. A balance stool is an active chair – one without any real back support. You’ll have to keep your core muscles and lumbar engaged in order to stay upright while you work on one of these. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you get used to the muscle engagement, you’ll find that you have less back pain and less stiffness than you did when you were habitually slouching in your typical office chair. Balance stools are also often tilted forward which better aligns your spinal column to support your weight in a seated position.
If you don’t yet have access to one of the above amenities, what can you do besides ask your direct manager to get one for you? One great option is to try doing exercises at your desk. This solution may not feel as automatic as having a piece of equipment that forces you to walk at work or engage your core, but the effects can be on par. If you’re feeling stiff from sitting for too long, try these three exercises to limber up:
Shoulder-Blade Squeezes – Stand up and squeeze your shoulder blades together tightly and then release. Repeat this ten times. This exercise will help to relieve tension in your shoulders and neck caused by hunching over your desk.
Calf Raises – If you’re like me, your legs often feel tight after sitting for a long time. Stand up on your toes (mind your balance!) and flex your calves hard, then release. Do this ten times to relieve any tension in your legs.
Walk it out! – Don’t be afraid to move around while you work, especially if you’re in a conference call or speaking to a client. Getting into the habit of pacing or walking around while you’re on the phone is a great way to burn a few extra calories and stay more active during your day.
The Importance of Staying Healthy at the Office
Having a healthy workforce offers numerous benefits, both for the worker and for the employer, when it comes to short-term perks as well as overall outcomes. Employees feel valued when their company invests into their health and wellness, and they feel motivated to help the company succeed. These workers take fewer sick days and recover from illnesses more quickly. They are also less likely to report high levels of work-related stress.
Employers are primarily concerned with how investing in a healthier work environment can improve productivity and impact bottom lines. The great news for employers is that promoting good health for workers can reduce recruitment and training costs by decreasing staff turnover. A healthy workspace also reduces costs like sick pay, insurance costs, and work-related health issues like high stress. Possibly the greatest benefit to corporations is the corporate responsibility demonstrated by investing in the health of employees. Companies that invest heavily in people are seen as attractive destinations for workers, especially Millennials and those in Generation X, who want a lifestyle that lets them succeed professionally while staying healthy and having fun at work.